Make School Uniforms Cool Without Breaking a Rule

Big Kid 22

school uniformSchool uniforms are the stuff of kids' nightmares and parents' dreams. While I'm sure I swore at one point I'd never force my children into such a ridiculous conformist kind of attire, a) they don't know that; and b) I love their uniforms with every ounce of my being, and intend to send them to a college that requires uniforms if I can find one. 

I can't even imagine how much more stressful each morning would be if I had to argue about what they were wearing, why dance costumes aren't appropriate to be worn in public, why it does matter if your pants are on backwards, and that no matter how comfortable your pajamas are, there's no way in hell you're going to Target in them. Oh wait, yes, I can, because that's what our summer was like. So I'm thrilled that school is back, and that a "boring" old uniform is the only option for at least one of my children.

But uniforms don't have to be totally boring. In fact, with a few tweaks and little touches, any kid can still express his or style without breaking the rules.

Shoes The feet are the easiest place to start, as shoes seem to be the least regulated item when it comes to most dress codes. At our school, shoes just have to be closed toed and all white or all black, but there are plenty of varieties of each out there to show a little style -- sporty for the jock, while a nice black-on-black sequined Mary Jane might be adorable for a little fashionista. If color isn't limited, then a nice bright pop of color or fun pattern can add spice.

Accessories How far you can go with these depends on the school rules, but colorful bracelets, fancy socks, interesting earrings, or a cool belt buckle can really jazz up a uniform.

Gear If the clothing must be monotonous, then things like backpacks, lunchboxes, and cellphone cases can be used to express one's interests and tastes.

Hair From various cuts to different braids, ponytails, bows, and accessories, what's atop your kid's head can go a long way to tell people who she or he is. For girls, makeup and nail polish (if allowed) are also good means of expression.

Personality The biggest expression of who your kid is should be your kid himself. Confidence to present that to the world is the best accessory anyone can have.

Do your kids wear school uniforms? If so, how do they personalize them?


Image via MJ/TR/Flickr